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A mature C. novaeguineae is pentagonal in shape with an inflated appearance and much-abbreviated arms. It can grow to a diameter of 30 cm (12 in). Rows of tube feet are on the underside, and it has a central mouth. The colour is very variable and includes a mottling with darker and lighter shades of fawn, brown, orange, yellow and green. The armoured body wall is made of calcareous ossicles which are supported internally by pillars which buttress the ambulacra. The armouring contains pits into which the tube feet can be retracted. The body cavity is filled with water. Small cushion stars are very different in appearance. They are star-shaped, with five short, broad arms and a low profile. As they grow, the inter-arm areas fill in and expand relative to the tube-feet areas, and the arms get shorter relative to the disc which becomes inflated and more massive.
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